Tag Archives: Peace for West Papua

The Spirit of Mambesak

From: the garamut

Spirit of Mambesak was initially formed in the 70’s and 80’s by West Papuan artists Arnold Ap and Eddie Mofu. They understood the importance of culture and strove to use music as a medium to convey their basic human right: the freedom of expression.

Mambesak was formed to revitalise traditional West Papuan dance, music and song and eventually provided a certain colour, form and inspiration for the birth of music and dance groups throughout Papua, actively promoting and strengthening West Papuan identity. However, Arnold Ap and Eddie Mofu’s popularity and the conscious pride in being Papuan Mambesak’s music engendered, brought them to the attention of the Indonesian military who accused them of being separatists. They were finally murdered. Today, the spirit of Mambesak endures with new faces and new songs. This album was released in 2004.

You can listen to more or purchase their music here


2015: A Year for Peace and Fresh Start

I decided to get out of my house for 24-hours and I spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day with friends I grew up with. It was a wonderful change from typing away at the computer and chasing my chickens out of my garden beds in Bellbowrie. We spent last night celebrating the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015. Today, I was taken to Sunnybank Hills by my friend Margaret and her two daughters, Nina and Paula, and we enjoyed a very nice Vietnamese lunch and then, ice-cream.

Thinking about last night’s discussions about life and where we were heading in the future, many of my friends and I will be turning half a Century, so 2015 is an important year for each of us.  We all agreed, we must all strive to make 2015 a better year and a year to complete projects.

I wanted to share contents of an email I received from my friend Dr Kevin Murray when I returned from my 24-hour outing. Dr Kevin Murray is an independent writer and curator, Adjunct Professor at RMIT University and Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Kevin’s email summed up last night’s discussions about projects, and about the desire to have a better year. I liked the message about using the old to make new in Kevin’s story about his textile workshop visit.  

Kevin wrote: according to the Chinese, 2015 is the year of the wood sheep. It’s an auspicious sign associated with harmony and peace. Accordingly, there are very few major sporting or political contests planned for this year.

Weaving with newspapers in Batik Redaka

Last year, three Australian designers, an Indian artisan and Kevin visited Batik Redaka, a textile workshop in Pekalongan. Their guide was the master batik artisan, Zahir Widadi. Batik Redaka was established by a Gujarati trader and reflects the fertile mix of Javanese, Dutch, Indian, Arab and Chinese cultures that co-exist on the north coast of central Java.


As well as traditional batik processes, the workshop has developed some wonderful new weaves, such as the textile produced by this newspaper loom (pictured above). From this newspaper fabric, they have designed a variety of products such as vests, hats and shirts.

This gleaning of technology is a particularly inventive source of modern craft. Zulu basket-makers make vibrant bowls from telephone wire. They are so successful that, even though it has been made redundant by optic fibre, telephone wire is still produced in South Africa as a craft product. Read more on the Sangam Project.

As my friend Kevin had wished me, I wish you the same. May the peaceful year of 2015 provide you with many opportunities to ‘make new again’ the rich resources at hand. I will be making new, some of my old projects and completing them this year. On the subject of peace and harmony, I wish and pray for Peace for West Papua.